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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Food)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Roman lunch

The basic ingredient of Roman’s dinner was bread made of various types of flour: black bread (panis rusticus, plebeius), white bread (panis secundaris) and the softest bread luxurious (panis candidus, uniform). There was no shortage of vegetables, lettuce, cabbage, leeks, chickpeas, broad beans (boiled, roasted), goat cheese and olives.

Roman lunch

Onions – delicacy of Romans

Onion was extremely popular in ancient Roman times, and therefore it is probably still used in many dishes in Europe. With the conquest of Europe, the Romans took the vegetable with them to various regions, including Germany or Britain. In Rome, onions were considered an aphrodisiac.

Onions - delicacy of Romans

Trojan pig – Roman dish

Information about a luxurious Roman dish – the so-called The “Trojan pig” comes from the 5th century and we owe it to the scientist Macrobius. Macrobius himself describes the meaning of the dish as follows: “made pregnant with other animals and enclosed within as the Trojan horse was made pregnant with armed men”.

Pig with porcini on a Roman mosaic. It is located in the Vatican Museums in Rome

How did ancient Romans eat their meals?

Ancient Romans consuming soup mainly used spoons made of bronze, animal bones or wood. Richer Romans used silver cutlery. The so-called ligula a small dessert spoon. There was another type, for example coclear – a spoon with a sharp tip for pulling snails out of the shell or eating an egg. What else was used to eat?

Roman feast

Cumin in ancient times

Ancient Rome used a range of overseas spices such as black pepper, long pepper, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. However, the most frequently used raw materials, both in cooking and in medicine, that were grown locally – coriander, mint and Roman cumin. The last of them was used both as an ingredient of dishes, a cosmetic raw material and a ritual plant. Where was this spice traded? What diseases were treated with it? Answer in the article below.

Fresco from Pompeii

Exaggerated feasting and vomiting in Roman world

Excessive consumption of food and excess was something the ancient Romans believed should be avoided at all costs. The ideal Roman should be devoted to the gods, his family and homeland, and above all, he should live a simple life and does not demand glory. However, as it always happens, in practice it was different and the Romans, as conquerors of the world, departed from their ideals, e.g. they indulged in boisterous feasts and decadent dishes.

Roman feast on the fresco of Pompeii

Moralia – collection of Plutarch’s texts

Plutarch of Chaeronea (c. 50 – c. 125 CE) is a Greek historian whose most famous work is the collection of lives of famous figures of the ancient world – the so-called Parallel Lives. His other speeches and contents, collected under the name of Moralia, have also survived to our times.

A Roman mosaic showing food

Frogs in world of ancient Greeks and Romans

Ancient Greeks and Romans identified frogs with harmony, fertility or debauchery and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). Ancient writers devoted numerous texts to frogs, including “Batrachomyomachia”, which tells about the war of mice with frogs and is heroicomic. The authorship of this work is unknown, but Homer is considered the creator.

Roman terracotta frog

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